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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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November 14, 2007 1:34 PM

Get ready for high-def Mac media centers

Posted by Brier Dudley

A new USB gadget from ATI will give Macs the ability to record high-def video broadcasts, closing a gap with Windows Media Center.

ATI announced today that a Mac version of its TV Wonder 650 USB tuner will go on sale later this month for around $149. In addition to tuning over-the-air and analog broadcasts, it includes an electronic programming guide and software to watch, pause and record high-definition video.

Macs already use ATI graphics cards. Apple ought to give people the option of ordering one of its computers with an internal TV tuner, especially since iTunes is losing its grip on TV show sales, but until then the $149 dongle sounds like a nice option.

The announcement, from ATI parent AMD, also mentioned that its video cards are giving the 20-inch and 24-inch iMacs HDMI output, which would make it easier to tie them in to a newer home entertainment network. HDMI ports aren't yet listed on the iMacs' tech specs though, and I haven't heard back yet from the spokesman I asked for clarification.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.